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30 октября 2003 года.
Afinogenov chafing in street clothes - Buffalo News


Things are not going Maxim Afinogenov's way. He's watching games instead of playing. He's watching practice instead of participating. And when he finally does get on the ice, trouble follows.

Take Wednesday morning's Buffalo Sabres practice in the Amherst Pepsi Center. After stretching, the players did a quick end-to-end drill to warm up. When Afinogenov skated toward Mika Noronen as part of a four-on-one, he got too close to the goaltender, banged his face off Noronen's mask and had to crouch in the corner to check for blood.

The Sabres then worked on the power play. Everyone participated - everyone except Afinogenov. Unit after unit went from the bench to the ice, and Afinogenov barely moved.

When he finally did get his one chance in the hourlong session, teammate J.P. Dumont regretted it. The players were just starting the drill when Afinogenov bumped into the back of Dumont, crumbling the winger to the ice. Dumont struggled to get up and hopped on one leg to the bench.

Dumont was fine and came back on the ice, but Afinogenov didn't.

If Afinogenov doesn't see the ice tonight when the Sabres host the Toronto Maple Leafs in HSBC Arena, it'll be the fifth straight game in which he's worn street clothes.

"It's not good because I want to play, definitely, but it's not my decision," Afinogenov said. "It's coach's decision, and whenever he wants to put me in the lineup, you know, good."

Afinogenov, once thought to be the rising star on the Sabres, has done little to distinguish himself this season. He played in only the first six games, registering one assist and eight shots. Two seasons ago, he had 21 goals, 19 assists and was second on the team with 234 shots in 81 games.

"We've got to get him back," coach Lindy Ruff said. "It's a case where on the physical side he's got to get involved in the ugly work. So much of the game is about that. . . . If you don't go to the net and you don't stand around the front of the net and you're not willing to pay a big price, not much is going to happen.

"I thought his puck support was poor in the games he played. That all leads to negative shifts. We know he's got some tools, and we've got to get back and get him working."

Few doubt Afinogenov's skills. The 24-year-old is one of the fastest skaters in the league. But he's probably not as big as his 6-foot, 191-pound listing and is not known for battling in the corners.

"I just want to play my game, skate and try to put the puck in the net," he said. "I didn't lose my confidence. I'm ready to go and I'm in good shape."

Last year was a waste for Afinogenov because of a severe concussion suffered just before training camp. He was hesitant when he returned midway through the year. Ruff says the injury isn't playing a part in the woes this season.

"I don't think that's a factor at all," Ruff said. "I think it's a willingness to pay a bigger price."

It was an easy decision to sit Afinogenov lately. He was struggling and the team was winning, and Ruff rarely tinkers with victorious combinations. The three-game win streak ended Tuesday, though. Ruff said he was going to talk Wednesday afternoon about whether to get Afinogenov back into a game.

"As a player I want to be in the lineup," Afinogenov said. "I'll work hard, I'll practice and get ready to play."

Страничка Максима Афиногенова на сайте "Звёзды с Востока"


4 сентября. Afinogenov is back in Maxim-um condition - Buffalo News

18 августа. Максим Афиногенов: "Вокруг света за 80 дней" - "Советский Спорт"

3 марта. Интервью с Максимом Афиногеновым - Спорт-Экспресс



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